THE INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS: What do you need to know for January 1, 2012?

THE INTEGRATED ACCESSIBILITY STANDARDS: What do you need to know for January 1, 2012?

As discussed in my previous blog , the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (“AODA”) came into force in Ontario in 2005. The goal of AODA is to improve accessibility to goods and services across Ontario for persons with disabilities. AODA aims to create accessibility standards in the areas of customer service, transportation, information and communications, employment and the built environment to be adopted by organizations throughout Ontario over the next few years.

The standards for information and communications, employment and transportation under the Act were integrated in regulation 191/11 (the “Integrated Accessibility Standards”) which came into force on July 1, 2011. The Integrated Accessibility Standards contain staggered compliance dates for various required areas. Two of these compliance dates, described below, are fast approaching. The Integrated Accessibility Standards apply to the Government of Ontario, the Legislative Assembly, and every designated public sector organization. They also apply to every other person or organization that provides goods, services or facilities to the public or any third parties and that has at least one employee in Ontario. The term “third party” will be interpreted broadly and as a result this regulation will effectively apply to almost all organizations. The compliance requirements under the Integrated Accessibility Standards may also vary depending on the class of organization in question (i.e. Government of Ontario vs. public and private sector organizations, which are further subdivided into small organizations (1-49 employees) and large organizations (50 or more employees)).

            The two key standards and compliance requirements to note at this point are the following:

  1.    Emergency Procedures, Plans, or Public Safety Information
  • Where your organization prepares emergency procedures, plans, or public safety information and makes them available to the public, you must ensure that such information is available in an accessible format to persons with disabilities, as soon as practicable, upon request.
  • The deadline for compliance with this standard is January 1, 2012.

 

  1.    Employment Standard, Workplace Emergency Response Information
  • Every organization must develop and deliver individualized workplace emergency response information to employees with disabilities, where the disability in question requires it.
  • The deadline for compliance with this standard is January 1, 2012.

Please feel free to contact us at the number listed below for more information about AODA or about any compliance requirements that your organization may be expected to meet in the New Year.